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  • Writer's pictureMegan Cottrell

Craniosacral Therapy During the Childbearing Year: Conception, Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond

Craniosacral Therapy for conception, pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, colic and beyond

Welcome to parenthood! Becoming a parent is a time of profound change and upheaval. It's filled with such joy, excitement, anticipation, but also with stress, overwhelm and many decisions. We love supporting new parents through their journey during every stage and helping them find the calm amidst the chaos. Read on to learn how craniosacral therapy can help you with conception, navigate pregnancy and prepare for birth, and support yourself and your little one in the fourth trimester and beyond.


Our practice grew out of a thriving doula business, so we have been supporting new families for over a decade! Our lead therapist, Kelly O'Brien Pahman, started pursuing craniosacral therapy as she saw what a difference it made for her doula clients, as well as in her own life. All of our staff members are trained to work with pregnant clients, newborns, infants and toddlers, and we are so blessed to see so many wonderful new families in our office every day.


Getting Pregnant: Craniosacral Therapy for Conception and Infertility


We have helped several clients who were facing infertility, hoping to release the tension and stress of trying to conceive. Trying to conceive can be a feedback loop of stress — the stress of not conceiving or handling the grief of miscarriage or pregnancy loss then makes conceiving all the more difficult. Our clients have found that craniosacral therapy can help them access a deeper level of calm and also heal existing scar tissue, allowing their body to conceive more easily.


Being Pregnant: Craniosacral Therapy for Pregnancy Discomfort and Shorter, More Effective Labors


Craniosacral therapy offers amazing benefits during the pregnancy including feeling more comfortable in your body, shorter labors, less stress, deeper sleep, and a deeper connection to your baby. It can help you process any fears you may have before labor or work through postpartum trauma stored in your body. Craniosacral therapy works by helping your body release tension and imbalances, which invites your body to be in alignment.


During pregnancy, craniosacral can:

— relieve nausea and fatigue

— alleviate aches and pains

— alleviate severe pubic pain

— alleviate low back pain

— help with sciatica

— relieve stress

— lower high blood pressure

— help with liver or kidney concerns

— enable optimal fetal positioning

— make labors shorter and more effective


For more on how craniosacral can help during pregnancy, read our post Is Your Pregnancy Missing Craniosacral Therapy?


Craniosacral Therapy for Newborns: Colic, Sleep and More


If you talk to any new parent, one of the top concerns on their mind is sleep. The sleepless nights while your baby is a newborn, infant or toddler can be brutal and make everything else so much harder. We have many families who bring their little ones in for sleep concerns, and they tell us that their children sleep better after coming to craniosacral therapy — longer durations (often all night!) and more deeply, waking up more refreshed. When baby sleeps better, the whole family benefits! For more on how craniosacral can help you with sleep, read our blog post Unlocking Better Sleep Through Craniosacral Therapy.


Another common concern for new families is colic and fussiness — a baby who never seems happy, has trouble settling down, cries constantly, only wants to be held (and often only by mom), and more. Parents of these little ones are often at their wit's end, having tried everything to help their baby settle. Often, we find that these babies are communicating some greater tension in their body, such as a tongue tie or imbalance, that keeps them from being able to relax. Craniosacral helps release the tension in their little bodies, but it also helps their nervous system to come back to baseline, so they're able to stay more regulated. We often have parents who are surprised when their little one seems so blissfully relaxed after a session! With repeated sessions, babies are able to "hold" their relaxation longer and feel more at home in their bodies. What a joy to be able to witness that kind of transformation!


Craniosacral Therapy for Breastfeeding


Craniosacral can be a wonderful tool to help you meet your breastfeeding goals. When troubles with breastfeeding occur, the focus is often on mom — being able to produce enough milk, the milk providing enough nutrition for baby — or on knowledge, such as how to attain a good latch or what hold to use. What sometimes holds us back are the things we can't see — the invisible strings of tension in a baby's body, head, neck and mouth — that are keeping them from being able to feed effectively.


Releasing this tension through the gentle bodywork of craniosacral therapy can make hard things suddenly so much easier! Baby can relax in any position, open their mouth wider, stay calm enough to get enough to eat. These small, invisible changes in their body tension patterns and nervous system regulation have a big visible impact through smoother, faster feeds, weight gain, growth, less fussiness and more. To learn more about how craniosacral can help you overcome breastfeeding issues, read our full blog post: How Craniosacral Can Make Breastfeeding Easier and More Productive.


Craniosacral Therapy for Tongue Tie


At The Craniosacral Therapy Center of Grand Rapids, we specialize in helping babies with a tongue tie, both pre- and post-release. We have helped so many families through this difficult journey. Families come in so overwhelmed by their symptoms and the stress of it all, and with help from us and other skilled providers, leave a few months later with a happy, thriving baby, amazed at how everything has changed.


We have a number of blog posts dedicated to the subject of tongue tie that we invite you to take a look at, including:



Craniosacral Therapy for Torticollis


Many parents are coming home from the doctor with an unfamiliar diagnosis for their infant- torticollis, the shortening or tightening of the front neck muscles on one side, causing the baby's head to tilt. This head tilt can lead to uneven pressure on one side of the head, possibly causing a flat spot.


Craniosacral therapy greatly aids in reducing or eliminating torticollis, without the stress and crying created by the stretches that are often prescribed. To learn more, visit our blog post Craniosacral Therapy and Torticollis: Gently Unraveling Tension without Tears



Craniosacral Therapy for Head Shape


Craniosacral therapy is a gentle alternative treatment for head shape concerns, such as plagiocephaly, or a flat spot on the head. Craniosacral therapy can be used as an alternative to or alongside helmet therapy to speed and optimize healing. We've worked with many families who have gotten a diagnosis of plagiocephaly and seen wonderful results from craniosacral. For more on craniosacral therapy for headshape concerns, read our detailed blog post: Resolving Head Shape Concerns Through Craniosacral Therapy: Plagiocephaly, Torticollis and More.


Craniosacral Therapy for Babies and Young Children


Sometimes parents want to know if their baby or young child is too young for craniosacral therapy. They worry that they won't be able to sit still long enough or lie on a table like an adult would. But at the Craniosacral Center of Grand Rapids, we are very experienced working with children and happily adapt to their needs. We treat babies in their mothers arms, nursing, bouncing on a ball, looking out the window, playing with toys or however makes them happy. For toddlers, we have toys and fidgets to play with, and we're happy to treat them as they move and switch from one activity to another or read them a book during treatment. A lot of parents are surprised at how their busy or fussy baby actually calms easily and falls into a deep sleep during treatment! For more about finding a craniosacral therapist for your child, take a look at How to Find a Craniosacral Therapist for Your Baby or Young Child, as well as, Does My Child Have to Sit Absolutely Still for Craniosacral Therapy? No!


Craniosacral Therapy for Parents: Finding Calm in the Midst of Change


Last, but certainly not least, is the value that craniosacral has for parents, especially for new motherhood. The childbearing year is a profound change, and like any change, it can bring stress, worry or confusion. Every mother deserves space apart from her child to check in with her body, connect with herself and receive support through this important time. Although moms often feel like they don't have time to take care of themselves, at our office, we often say "When mom gets treated, everyone gets treated." What we mean by that is that when mom is calm, centered and pain-free, the benefits extend to the entire family.


Anyone transitioning into a new role in a job would receive professional development, support and coaching. Motherhood should be no different. Caregiving is an important and necessary task, and it deserves support. For more on how craniosacral can help you navigate times of stress, take a look at Finding Peace and Presence Amid the Pressure of Daily Life with Craniosacral Therapy.


Interested in treatment for both mom and baby? We offer Mom and Baby sessions so that everyone can get treatment and save time. Book your Mom and Baby session here.


Questions on Craniosacral for the Childbearing Year? Just Ask!


We love supporting families at our office, and we're more than happy to answer your questions. Feel free to text, call or email us at (616) 433-3003 or hello@craniosacralgr.com, or book an appointment online on our website.


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